ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Minister for Information and Broadcasting and Parliamentary Affairs Murtaza Solangi on Monday stated that there was no crisis in meeting the financial needs of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for holding the upcoming general elections after reports that the Ministry of Finance had failed to release funds to the election body despite repeated reminders.
Media earlier reported that the situation resulted in the summoning of the finance secretary by the ECP as well as prompting the poll body to consider writing to Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar.
Sources in ECP revealed that a total of Rs42 billion was allocated for holding general elections in this year’s budget but the finance ministry only released Rs10 billion so far. They further added that the remaining amount has been delayed without any explanation.
The ECP officials maintained that the poll body immediately needs Rs17 billion to hold general elections on February 8, 2024. Repeatedly, they said, the finance ministry was approached for releasing the funds but to no avail.
“There is no crisis on meeting the financial needs of the ECP. The cabinet had approved Rs42 billion for the budgetary needs of the ECP. An amount of Rs10 billion was already released,” Solangi wrote on his official X handle.
He said that the ECP has approached to release Rs17.4 billion out of the budgeted amount.
“Whatever budgeted amount is needed by the ECP will be released as per its needs accordingly. We firmly stand behind the ECP in holding free and fair elections as mandated by article 218(3) of the Constitution,” he further asserted.